Breast-feeding and diarrheal morbidity

Pediatrics. 1990 Dec;86(6):874-82.


This study used a unique longitudinal survey of more than 3000 mother-infant pairs observed from pregnancy through infancy. The sample is representative of infants from the Cebu region of the Philippines. The sequencing of breast-feeding and diarrheal morbidity events was carefully examined in a longitudinal analysis which allowed for the examination of age-specific effects of feeding patterns. Because the work controlled for a wide range of environmental causes of diarrhea, the results can be generalized to other populations with some confidence. The addition to the breast-milk diet of even water, teas, and other nonnutritive liquids doubled or tripled the likelihood of diarrhea. Supplementation of breast-feeding with additional nutritive foods or liquids further increased significantly the risk of diarrhea; most benefits of breast-feeding alone or in combination with nutritive foods/liquids became small during the second half of infancy. Benefits of breast-feeding were slightly greater in urban environments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding*
  • Diarrhea, Infantile / etiology*
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food / adverse effects*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Milk, Human / immunology
  • Rural Population
  • Urban Population